Magazine article World Literature Today

Confessions

Magazine article World Literature Today

Confessions

Article excerpt

Minato Kanae. Confessions. Stephen Snyder, tr. New York. Mulholland Books / Little, Brown. 2014. isbn 9780316200929

Confessions, the debut novel from Minato Kanae (b. 1973), is a sobering indictment of current Japanese society, told in a manner vaguely reminiscent of an epistolary novel through a variety of conceits: a resignation speech, a letter, a diary, a recurring nightmare, a blog, and a phone call. Comprising six "confessions" from five characters, the bleak picture Minato paints of people so deeply mired in their own selfabsorption, so firmly invested in self-worth determined solely by the degree to which others notice them, leaves one despairing of a future for Japan's youth other than total moral decay.

The premise is simple: a murder was committed and a surviving relative seeks revenge. The specifics, too, are not necessarily novel: the murderer is a student and the victim is the four-year-old daughter of his teacher. Where Confessions succeeds is in its layered construction-revealed slowly and, often, surprisingly in each subsequent confession-of the lives and forces that motivate both the killer and the teacher. The translation is, as we would expect from Stephen Snyder, comfortable. Through it, we experience Minato's skillful ability to pull us into the obvious narrative device privileging multiple perspectives and to keep us on tenterhooks through the repetitions necessary in the overlapping tales while we await that one piece which seems to be missing . …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.